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Sebkay (alternatively Sebekay or Sebekāi[1]) was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh during the Second Intermediate Period. For a long time his position created problems and he was most often placed into the 13th Dynasty. However, the discovery of the tomb of a king with the name Senebkay make it very likely that Sebkay is identical with the latter and the writing of the name Sebkay is just a misspelling of the name.[2]

Very little is known about him, since his name is attested only on a wooden birth Tusk (wand) found at Abydos and now in the Cairo Museum (CG 9433 / JE 34988).[3]


Since the discovery of the wand, several Egyptologists have tried to identify this king with other rulers of the Second Intermediate Period. Stephen Quirke believed that “Sebkay” was a diminutive for “Sedjefakare”, which is the throne name of Kay-Amenemhat,[4] while Jürgen von Beckerath considered the name a short form of the nomen “Sobekhotep” instead.[1] Thomas Schneider supports von Beckerath's hypothesis, specifying that the king Sobekhotep likely was Sobekhotep II.[5]

A more radical hypothesis came from Kim Ryholt, who suggested the reading “Seb's son Kay”, de facto splitting the name “Seb-kay” in two different pharaohs and thus filling a gap in the Turin King List before Kay-Amenemhat. Furthermore, in this reconstruction the name of the last mentioned king should be considered a patronymic too, and must be read “Kay's son Amenemhat”, thus setting a dynastic line consisting of three kings: Seb, his son Kay, and the latter's son Amenemhat. Ryholt's interpretation is considered daring and controversial by some egyptologists.[5]

In 2014, at Abydos, a team of archaeologists discovered the tomb of a previously unknown king of the Second Intermediate Period, called Senebkay. It has been suggested that this ruler and Sebkay might be the same person.[6]

Full view of the ivory wand. Sebkay's name is carved on the left side.


  1. ^ a b Jürgen von Beckerath, Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, Glückstadt, Augustin, 1964, p. 46.
  2. ^ Ilin-Tomich, Alexander, 2016, Second Intermediate Period. In Wolfram Grajetzki and Willeke Wendrich (eds.), UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, Los Angeles. p. 10
  3. ^ Georges Daressy, Catalogue Général des Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire: Textes et dessins magiques. Le Caire: Imprimerie de L'institut Français D'archéologie Orientale (1903), pl. XI.
  4. ^ "Sebkay page on". Retrieved 2014-08-18.
  5. ^ a b Thomas Schneider, in Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, and David A. Warburton (eds) Ancient Egyptian Chronology, Brill, Leiden – Boston, 2006, pp. 178-79.
  6. ^ Finding a Lost Pharaoh Archived 2014-01-28 at, Archaeology and arts. Retrieved 08 May 2014
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